This week the governor of New York proposes an “obesity tax” on soft drinks. Good for him! Financial incentives for good behavior work, and I’m sure the state can use the extra revenue.

Unfortunately it seems like Gov. Paterson intends to draw a line between diet and non-diet drinks, choosing to tax only non-diet sodas. Making such a distinction seems to convey the message that diet sodas are somehow healthier than their non-diet counterparts. A government endorsement of artificial sweeteners like aspartame (Nutrasweet) is inappropriate without scientific consensus. And as of this writing, the science is inconclusive.

Most people would agree that soda is unhealthy, so why not tax all soda?